MELAKA, May 21 – Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) must be preserved as an institution that provides higher education for the Malays, said its Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Abdul Rahman Arshad. He said the UiTM was set up to provide educational privileges to the Malays and other Bumiputeras as contained in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, thus any move to challenge the privileges would be construed as breaching the Federal Constitution. “We have Article 153 in the constitution that states clearly the privileges of the Malays, if the UiTM is opened to everyone, then where is the privilege,” he told reporters, here Tuesday night.
Earlier, he received the Melaka Malay Icon Award 2014 from Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron at the 68th Umno anniversary at the Melaka state level which was also attended by Puteri Umno head Mas Ermieyati Samsudin. The issue on the admission of non-Malays to UiTM had again been raised when the DAP candidate for the Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election, Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud proposed the establishment of an institution such as the UiTM for the non-Malays because she said access to a good educational institution should be provided to everyone regardless of race.
Abdul Rahman, who declined to comment on the political involvement of Dyana Sofya who was a former UiTM law student, however pointed out that the Malays still needed the UiTM now as a pedestal for the development of the race. He said this was because the Malays still lagged far behind the other races in the country in the economic field and only a good command of knowledge at the higher level could narrow down the gap. Meanwhile, Idris said the Melaka Umno Liaison Body had succeeded in registering 4,123 new voters out of the total of 4,989 new voters registered in the state in the first quarter of the year.